SURREY, BC, Feb. 6, 2015 /CNW/ - George Wilson, President of the B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF), today said he's disappointed the government did not rescind the December 2014 amendments to the Wildlife Allocation Policy and revert back to wildlife allocation splits agreed to by B.C. resident hunters and guide outfitters in the 2007 policy. However, he commended the B.C. government for listening to the concerns of resident hunters and modifying the Wildlife Allocation Policy.
"Today's amendments to the Wildlife Allocation Policy do not go far enough in providing an equitable balance between the rights of B.C. resident hunters to access wild game and the business needs of guide-outfitters, who service foreign trophy hunters" said Wilson. "Nevertheless, the B.C Wildlife Federation remains committed to working with government on all levels in regards to wildlife issues."
In most other provinces and U.S. states, foreign hunters are limited to 5 - 10 percent of the wildlife allocation. Recent changes to the Wildlife Allocation Policy announced by the B.C. government in December 2014 awarded the 245-member Guide-Outfitters Association of B.C. (GOABC) up to an unprecedented 40 percent of the allocation for some species. Consequently, the new policy reduced resident hunters' share of wild game across much of B.C.
The most recent amendments provides some marginal adjustments to the wildlife allocation splits previously announced. Many B.C. residents rely on hunting to feed their families healthy organic meat. In the Thompson region, for example, resident hunters' share of moose was increased to 85 percent from 80 percent announced in December. Still, Thompson region residents have lost five percent of the available moose allocation in the region, which was 90/10 percent between resident hunters and guide-outfitters under the 2007 Wildlife Allocation Policy.
Wilson said he was encouraged that the government was going to review the management of Thin Horn Sheep and late season elk in the Peace region (Region 7b), and was hopeful that the forthcoming recommendations would accurately reflect the needs and contribution of B.C.'s resident hunters.
"Wildlife is an integral public resource and wildlife policy should encompass much more than protecting the economic interests of a handful of businesses," said Wilson. "Policy should reflect the environmental, social and cultural importance that wildlife offers the residents of B.C."
The B.C. Wildlife Federation believes that conservation should be the highest priority, and any concerns related to wildlife viability should be reflected in reduced or suspended harvest opportunities. Allocations for resident and non-resident hunters come after conservation requirements and First Nations food, social, and ceremonial harvest opportunities have been met.
B.C. resident hunters spend over $230 million a year in local communities on hunting related activities and contribute $9 million a year towards conservation work through license fees. Resident hunters also contribute through donations to conservation organizations such as The Nature Trust, and Ducks Unlimited as well as volunteer for conservation activities. B.C. Wildlife Federation members dedicate more than 300,000 hours annually to fish, wildlife and habitat conservation projects across the province.
The BCWF is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization with over 46,000 members passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Visit www.bcwf.bc.ca for more information.
SOURCE B.C. Wildlife Federation
For further information: For more information on this issue, contact George Wilson, President, B.C Wildlife Federation, Tel: 250-946-6222 or Jim Glaicar, Vice President, B.C. Wildlife Federation. Tel: 250-612-8294. For general media inquiries, contact Curtis Ketter, BCWF Marketing & Communications Coordinator, at 604-882-9988 (ext. 233) or firstname.lastname@example.org